Top Historic Sights in Mainz, Germany

Explore the historic highlights of Mainz

Mainz Cathedral

Archbishop Willigis laid the foundation stone for the Mainz cathedral in 975, modelling it on old St. Peter’s in Rome. Seven coronations of kings took place in Mainz Cathedral in the course of the centuries. The new building did not, however, survive the day of its consecration in August 1009 – a fire destroyed the edifice and it was only possible to use the cathedral again in 1036. From his time dates the oldest sur ...
Founded: 975 AD | Location: Mainz, Germany

St. Augustine's Church

The mendicant order of Augustinian hermits had a monastery in the Augustinerstrasse from 1260 until 1802. The one-aisled church was newly constructed, together with the monastery, from 1768 to 1772. The Diocesan Priests’ Seminary has been located here since 1805. The ornamentation of the church is so rich because patrons generously supported the work: The Elector did not want a “peasants’ church” i ...
Founded: 1768-1772 | Location: Mainz, Germany

St. Stephen’s Church

In 990 AD, Willigis, Archbishop of Mainz and Archchancellor of the Holy Roman Empire, endowed a collegiate foundation in Mainz and had the church built as the “Empire’s Place of Prayer”. The constructor of the cathedral was himself laid to rest in St. Stephen’s in 1011. The new Gothic building was erected between 1290 and 1335. It stands on the foundations of the basilica built in Ottonian-pre-Roma ...
Founded: 1290-1335 | Location: Mainz, Germany

St. Ignatius Church

The red sandstone facade of St. Ignatius’s rises up in the midst of the low houses of the old city in Kapuzinerstrasse. The church was constructed between 1763 and 1774 to the plans of Johann Peter Jäger, namely in place of the old church of a suburb enclosed within the city wall after 1200. The church shows an impressive interplay of baroque, as the expression of joy in faith, and classicism, as the expression of rea ...
Founded: 1763-1774 | Location: Mainz, Germany

Roman Theater

Mainz, known as Mogontiacum, was Rome’s most important city in Germania. In fact, the stage and auditorium of the Mainz theater was the largest anywhere north of the Alps. More than 10,000 audience members could be accommodated. The theater proportions were gigantic: The stage measured 42 meters wide. The audience area was 116 meters in width. The Roman Theater is located just above the Mainz-South Station adjacent ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Mainz, Germany

Mainz Citadel

The Mainzer Zitadelle (Citadel of Mainz) was constructed in 1660. The Jakobsberg hill, where the citadel was constructed, had been occupied by a Benedictine abbey during the middle ages (since 1050). Halfway up the hill, the amphitheater of the Roman settlement of Mogontiacum, which has been recently excavated, must also have been visible at that time. The Jakobsberg hill, however, had not been integrated in the ring of t ...
Founded: 1660 | Location: Mainz, Germany

Drususstein

The Drususstein (Drusus stone) is a nearly 20 metres high masonry block of Roman origin on the grounds of the citadel of Mainz. It was originally cast in marble. Researchers now largely accept that this is the structural remnant of the cenotaph mentioned by writers like Eutropius and Suetonius, erected in 9 BC by Roman troops in honour of the deceased general Drusus, in Mogontiacum (now Mainz) as part of the roman funerar ...
Founded: 9 BC | Location: Mainz, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.